Elrich Stands By Decision to Prohibit Divisive Flag

County Executive Marc Elrich met with members of the media Monday afternoon and doubled down on his decision to prohibit a Thin Blue Line flag from being displayed at the Germantown District police station.

Elrich said his problem with the flag is that it’s been appropriated by Blue Lives Matter, a media group started in response to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Elrich told reporters:

When you think about it as a Thin Blue Line Flag, then you see it one way, and the officers are saying they see this as a Thin Blue Line Flag, and nobody could possibly object to that. Then I’ll point out that the fire department has a Thin Red Line Flag, and it’s of no issue to me. The problem is that the symbol of the Thin Blue Line Flag has been appropriated by Blue Lives Matter and that there are lots of groups in the community—people concerned about Black Lives Matter, people concerned about levels of violence against black people in this country—who take the Blue Lives Matter flag as an affront and as a flag that represents dismissiveness of Black Lives Matter and their dismissiveness about what’s happening to black males in this country.

On Blue Lives Matter’s website, the organization says it was founded to combat “anti-police bias” reporting.

“The media catered to movements such as Black Lives Matter, whose goal was the vilification of law enforcement. Criminals who rioted and victimized innocent citizens were further given legitimacy by the media as ‘protesters,’ the Blue Lives Matter website says in its introduction section.

Elrich acknowledges that the young boy who initially gave the flag to the police station in honor of National First Responders Day didn’t have “any ill-intent” by the gift. But MCPD should have been aware of the connotations associated with the flag before sharing a photo of the flag on its Twitter account, Elrich said.

When asked by reporters if he planned to lift the flag ban after Gov. Larry Hogan took to social media Sunday to rebuke Elrich’s decision, Elrich said, “I’m not changing my decision.”

Despite initially standing by the decision to ban the flag, Elrich told reporters that Montgomery County Police Department’s Acting Chief Marcus Jones “has said he’s continuing to consider some final resolutions,” Elrich said.

On Tuesday, Jones will be interviewed by the Montgomery County Council who will vote on Jones’s nomination to become the next chief of MCPD.

Elrich said he has not spoken to Hogan about their disagreement over the flag.

“I wouldn’t talk to him about this, it’s a waste of time. He shouldn’t be mucking in it,” Elrich said. “Montgomery County is not exactly exactly the hotbed for these tensions in this state. I’m sure that flag would not go over well in other communities in this state.”

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